I watched a movie the other night, The Way written by Emilio Estevez and starring Martin Sheen. It is rare for me to sit. I can barely find time these days to write. But, as soon as the movie started I knew I was supposed to watch it.
We have an exchange student (actually her title is Language Ambassador) from Spain staying with us for two weeks. Mayca worked at my children’s school this winter and we are happy to have a little time with her before she returns home to study in Barcelona. I love hearing all four kids speak to her in Spanish to practice the language they are learning.
Mayca had seen this movie about a famous pilgrimage that people make from France to Santiago, Spain. In fact, it is a trek that she has personally made. Depending on the distance one chooses to go, the walk can take up to a month or two to complete. Mayca did a portion of the journey with a group of school friends for 10 days, one that many do for religious, health or personal reasons. She said it is a beautiful experience of reflection and inspiration.
The movie starts with an American son telling his father that he has decided to travel and see the world. He invites his workaholic father to join him, but his father declines saying that he chooses the life he has. The son explains, “you don’t choose a life, Dad…you live one.”
The story is one of extreme perseverance, the ties of a family, the heart-break of loss and the healing power of completing something grander than yourself. I watched the movie in awe with Mayca smiling in satisfaction to share her country with me. At the end Steven looked and me and asked, “When are we going?”
I know someday I will do this walk. There are some things in life that cannot be passed up, some things that once completed will change a person forever. El Camino is waiting to change me.
Photo: El Camino Real via Eurolanguages